Kuwait: Everywhere I look…..I see Dudes!! Why?


It’s a strange phenomenon that I’ve only ever felt in Kuwait. Why is it that every single place I go – be it the gym, the mall, the restaurants, the coffee shops, the offices, I feel like I see an overwhelming number of males.

Where the heck are all the women in this country? Do they not go out, or are they – the females – simply outnumbered?

It got me thinking a lot about the demographics of Kuwait. There must be a birth rate problem. Surely there are too many males being born and not enough females, right?

Well let’s take a look at the latest statistics posted for 2005 and I think we’ll find some pretty interesting results:

All Figures are for Year Ending 2005

Kuwait Total Population: 2.9 million (up 8.6% for 2005) – huge growth, shows our population and our economy is expanding

Kuwaitis: 992,000 (up 3.8%) – Can you believe we still didn’t get to a million? It’s been at this number now for seemingly years

Kuwaiti Females: 51 % – What? This can’t be right. Where are they?

Kuwait Males: 49% – But everywhere I look, I see males. Impossible.

Non Kuwaiti Males: 70% – And so lies the problem

Non Kuwaiti Females: 30% – And so lies the problem part 2
Other Stats:

Kuwaitis under age of 15: 40% – Amazing Statistic. Now we know why Marina is always packed with kids

Kuwaitis under age of 30: 68% – Kuwait, according to this statistic, is an incredibly young country.

Most Populated Areas in Kuwait : Hawalli and Farwaniyah, where 48% of the total population live. This explains the traffic problems associated with these areas.

And so, we find (at least partial) answers to our questions:

70% of the Ex-pats who come to Kuwait (a total of 2 million) are Males. Translated into approximate numbers, this is roughly 1.4 million males to 600,000 females. A shocking imbalance.

So why is this?

Well, let’s look beyond the recent influx of foreign contractors who now reside in Kuwait and look to identify the real, crux of the problem.

Kuwait is one of the few countries in the World, where Nationals do NOT work in the ‘service sector.’ Our ‘service sector’ relies solely on TCN’s (American terminology for ‘Third Country Nationals’) to do the associated work.

Jobs in Construction, Transportation, Food and Catering, Industrial Cleaning and any other type of Manual Labor typically require males to do the often laborious tasks.

Let’s elaborate.

Typically these ex-pat males will NOT be able to come to Kuwait with their wives or their families due to the high costs of living associated with the country. For the average service sector worker, Kuwait is an excellent place to earn a comparatively good wage before returning back to their originating countries with the monies saved. Those leaving workers are then simply replaced by more TCN’s – and thus, the cycle continues.

And the future?

As our companies grow bigger; our need for manpower will also be increasing. The rift between the male and female population is therefore set to grow even further.

So what of other countries in the region with similar setups. What of countries like the Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain? There are hundreds of thousands of service sector jobs there – how come the ratio doesn’t ‘appear’ as skewed as Kuwait?

Well, there are a number of possible reasons:

1) Tourism: Vacationing families, vacationing couples and mixed sex ‘singles’ often go to Dubai, Qatar or Bahrain for fun, entertainment and relaxation. In many public places, you will see a good mixture of couples and ‘mixed sex’ groups which helps to increase diversity and at least ‘mask over’ the demographic disproportions.

2) Career Perspectives: Kuwait, as a country, is simply not as enticing as our neighbors for single ex-pat females to live and work in. We are still a society which is predominantly male orientated. I’m sure we all know many ex-pat females who didn’t think twice about taking a job in the Emirates, Qatar or Bahrain. Can the same be said of Kuwait? The environment is simply not as appealing.

Solutions: Whilst we could of course debate this all day, we could start by:

-Promoting Kuwait as an equal opportunity country for both sexes to live and work.

-Increase Touristic Interest in the country. Perhaps with the advent of projects like Failaka Island, we will see a slow, gradual push toward the true value of tourism.

-Encourage ex-pat families to reside here by offering them the right to buy land or properties.

I would like to leave you with one last question to ponder on. When was the last time you heard of a group of young, single females going to Kuwait on a random visit or vacation?

Hmmm….even our stat book will be hard pressed to answer that question.


10 Responses to Kuwait: Everywhere I look…..I see Dudes!! Why?

  1. Dawn Fairy says:

    interesting study, i think Kuwait must cut the Ex-pats bucz alot of them are not needed as we all know, and that increases the traffic and crimes in Kuwait..

  2. Fonzy says:

    well ur absolutely right, rarely do u see females during ur outings. The problem is that they avoid going out much cos everytime they do, they end up being harassed so they prefer going to isolated places or not going out at all. if u go to the cafes in the beda3 area u tend to see more females cos the males there r mostly respectable. As for tourism compared to other neighboring countries, its because they have a night life going on. If they were to allow that in Kuwait, I bet the country will boom. I just doubt it will happen anytime soon

  3. Stinni says:

    LOL @ “TCN’s”. You have friends in the American military?

    I think if we allowed TCN’s to bring their families it would overwhelm healthcare facilities and private schools.

  4. Rizza says:

    Prety surprised at the #’s of under 30’s in q8. That’s a lot more than i expected. I guess it explains they the malls and the restaurants are always so packed!!

  5. ananyah says:

    id bring my single female friends for a vacation to Kuwait, show them all the hot spots, underground parties, take them to my best friends chalet, and maybe let them have a holiday romance with a random geezi guy 😛

  6. toxy says:

    Dawn: I’m not sure which Ex Pats TCN’s you feel are not needed? Most of them work very hard for the little money which they earn!

    Fonzy: very true also. I knew quite a few girls who rarely frequented public places because of the hassling. They tended to go out more in the day – when all the nasty dudes were at work! lol

    Stinni: Why yes, I’ve gotten used to that name now. I think it’s the Americans being typically politically correct and giving them a cool name….lol….

    Rizza: Very true man. Lots of young people here, time to shape the New Kuwait!

    Ananyah: Lol…hmmm….a holiday romance with a Geezi…Wow, tell them that and you’ll have to fight them for your seat on the plane. You should be on Kuwait’s tourism board for sure.

  7. moocherx says:

    When I go to the gym, women out-number men. Maybe it’s about timing?

  8. ??? says:

    Actually the number of Kuwaitis has surpassed a million sometime during 2006. It was all over the papers.

  9. KK says:

    The fundamental issue is that with an oil filled pedestal there is a fallacy of beleiving that you can get away with want you want. The winners in the GCC are alread becoming clear with the UAE and Qatar leading by miles. Instead of leveraging the brain power of the expat to build a country that is of mutual benefit to all. Internationalising your country is not a loss of identity. If all you can attract is maids , workers and drivers,then there is risk of leveraging just that.
    What a shame. A city like Dubai , with no oil wealth, a creek carved out of money borrowwd from Kuwait in the 60’s can get so far ahead is just proof of whats possible. Will Kuwaiti youth take over and change things ? It can be done…

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